Cecily Brown creates lush, visceral canvases based on a combination of figuration and abstraction. Her technical proficiency has earned her comparisons to Lucian Freud, Willem de Kooning, and Francis Bacon, yet it is her unique ability to convey the pleasurable and fleeting aspects of sensation that drive her work.Cecily Brown rapidly rose to success in the late 1990's, and was credited with having contributed to the resurgence of painting at the turn of the millennium. With a visual repertoire indebted as much to the classical themes of the old masters as to porn magazines and Hollywood films, Brown’s paintings challenge traditional interpretations and compel us to reconsider the act of painting from a decidedly feminine viewpoint.
The Powerful Eroticism of Cecily Brown
By Grady Harp on May 29, 2009
This is a particularly rich Rizzoli publication for Gagosian Gallery devoted to the art of the one whose name forms the title of this monograph - CECILY BROWN. Brown is a young painter whose style falls somewhere in the transition zone between abstract expressionism and figurative painting: few artists have succeeded to this level as well, a level that includes Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud, Jean Rustin and Willem de Kooning. She manages to cast thick layers of paint on her canvases that in and of themselves are quasi three dimensional creations of wildly imaginative combinations of color, but she doesn't stop there. Sometimes buried in all of this action painting are stories of erotic encounters, barely discernible until the eye finds the subjects: the cover of the book is the riotously sexual `1000 Thread Count' in which the viewer must invest time to find the core images in this lushly colorful cacophony of brush strokes. At other times her canvases are frankly sexual, as in `Performance' (page 119) and `Two Figures in a Landscape' (page 149) and `New Louboutin Pumps' (page 209) where the sexual act is visually celebrated in a masterful way. Brown even visits private interludes as in `These Foolish Things' (page 147) where a couple occupies the same bed but pleasures themselves. She also provides many pen and ink drawings of both female and male nudes, alone and together, works that demonstrate her remarkable talent for the minimal erotic statement. The drawings at time lead toward paintings, but at the same time this well designed monograph gives extensive examples of the visual stimuli from artists in the distant past that provide ideas for her huge canvases. Many of these `stimuli' are in fact old pornographic images, but an equal number are works by known artists who did not fear public opinion. How she elaborates on these naughty themes is part of what makes this monograph so unique. The book opens with a fine essay by Dore Ashton and follows with a conversation between the superb Los Angeles painter Lari Pittman and Cecily Brown. Both writers provide a rich background to this superb artist's thoughts and development as a painter. Cecily Brown is a painter who is rapidly becoming one of the more fascinating and controversial painters today. Her work, and this book, deserve attention. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, May 09
My favorite art book
By Logan on Jun 27, 2014
My favorite art book. Beautiful book that shows up close pages of her brushwork, shows watercolor sketches and photos and paintings that inspire her work as well as a wonderful selection of her paintings.
By Cattoo on Oct 12, 2009
Beautiful book, beautiful paintings. The interviews are inspiring. The next best thing to seeing the real thing.
By Gaz on Oct 04, 2010
Nice full colour plates, also some great close ups of the brushwork and detail. I'm pleased with my purchase, well worth the money.
By Mick York on May 13, 2009
From the small image on my computer I could see that this was a very exciting painter. I had just been looking at Joan Mitchell so the Cecily Brown brushstroke interested me very much. Also, I am familiar with Dore Ashton's writings on artists so there was no question in my mind that this would be a great book. I am not disappointed on those scores however since the artist was unknown to me, I was unaware of the subject matter. She makes Egon Schiele look like a cub scout. Though there is an explanation as to why the artist chose to paint the images she did, I still have troubles perusing the book. I have not read it yet, I took one look and closed it until I want to admire the brushwork and color choices without wearing my glasses. I believe Cecily Brown is a wonderful painter and would have been noticed by virtue of her skill without resorting to lurid subject matter but if you are a painter looking for great technique you should look at Cecily Brown through a filter of your own device.
By Amy Edelman on Jan 14, 2012
From The Gagosian Gallery Cecily Brown creates lush, visceral canvases based on a combination of figuration and abstraction. Her technical proficiency has earned her comparisons to Lucian Freud, Willem de Kooning, and Francis Bacon, yet it is her unique ability to convey the pleasurable and fleeting aspects of sensation that drive her work. Cecily Brown rapidly rose to success in the late 1990's, and was credited with having contributed to the resurgence of painting at the turn of the millennium. With a visual repertoire indebted as much to the classical themes of the old masters as to porn magazines and Hollywood films, Brown's paintings challenge traditional interpretations and compel us to reconsider the act of painting from a decidedly feminine viewpoint. By Dore Ashton with Lari Pittman and Gagosian Gallery Reviewed by IR Staff